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Bahrain - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 29 Jul 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 97

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Bahrain develops robust telecoms infrastructure for the future

The telecommunications sector in Bahrain is robust and progressive and it contributes about 4% a year to the Kingdom’s GDP. Bahrain is striving to drive further growth in the telecoms sector in 2020 by ensuring it is competitive and adaptable to market dynamics. It has the added pressure of coping with the impact from the global Covid-19 outbreak and ensuring provision of adequate Internet services and applications to home-based citizens.

The major telecoms operators include Batelco, STC Bahrain and Zain Bahrain. The industry is regulated by Telecommunications Regulator (TRA) which has been working hard to resolve any regulatory or spectrum hurdles in readiness for 5G. This government support, along with proactive operators, resulted in Batelco launching the first commercial 5G network in Bahrain in mid-2019.

Batelco also undertook a significant operational restructure in 2019 and launched Bahrain’s National Broadband Network operated by BNET. Bahrain’s telecommunications industry is guided by its Fourth National Telecommunications Plan which focuses on fibre-optic infrastructure deployment and establishing affordable prices for high-speed access.

Overall, the mobile broadband sector is poised for growth with 4G networks in place and a high mobile subscriber penetration paving the way for adoption.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains all around the world. During this time, the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device and ICT equipment production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to source necessary equipment or manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may also be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services is likely to be impacted by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. In contrast, demand for Internet services will rise with citizens at home using it for work, education, socialising, and entertainment.

It is largely unknown what the long-term impacts will be as the crisis develops. However, though challenging to predict and interpret, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts and text contained in this report.

In addition, the report covers the responses of the telecom operators, as well as government. This might be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

This BuddeComm report provides statistics and analysis on the key sectors of Bahrain’s telecom market, presenting an overview of the regulatory environment, the fixed network operators and services, telecom infrastructure, mobile operators, and mobile infrastructure, supported by statistics. The report includes a range of subscriber forecasts through to 2025.

Key developments:

  • STC and Zain Bahrain launch 5G commercial services;
  • TRA renews mobile licences held by Batelco and Zain for another ten years;
  • Zain Bahrain reports steady increase in data use;
  • TRA offers more mobile spectrum;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data for Q1 2020, operator data for Q2 2020, recent market developments.

Companies covered in this report include:

Batelco, STC Bahrain, Zain Bahrain, Kalaam Telecom.

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